NASCAR may have been born in Daytona Beach, the result of a smoke-filled hotel in December 1947 but North Carolina is now its grown-up home base. Ninety percent of Cup Series teams make their home there, most with race shops just outside the Charlotte city limits.
What’s wrong with Kasey Kahne? It’s a question that has cropped up about the Hendrick Motorsports driver in the last couple of years, and it’s legitimate. Kahne has had fast cars — his teammates have poles, race wins, a rookie title and the 2016 championship in the same equipment. Kahne has 17 career wins, so it’s not as though he doesn’t know how to get to Victory Lane. Kahne has had terrible luck, but he’s not getting taken out of races every week.
The 2016 NASCAR season is about to crank up with the 58th running of the Daytona 500 less than three weeks away. That also means it is about time to start registering for your favorite 2016 fantasy NASCAR league. We have come up with 60 funny, crazy, weird and/or outright silly names to help you get started on your quest to fantasy NASCAR greatness.
There’s an old adage in racing that says, “Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.” For Kasey Kahne, that motto perfectly sums up his most recent Sprint Cup campaign. Kahne was good, and he had fast cars, but the luck just wasn’t on his side. He failed to finish five races in 2014, all due to crash damage in which he was almost always an innocent victim.
Ten years. That’s how long since the Hendrick Motorsports plane crash, near Martinsville, which took the lives of 10 innocent victims. Among them were owner Rick Hendrick’s son, Ricky, and brother John; nieces Kimberly and Jennifer, engine builder Randy Dorton, Hendrick GM Jeff Turner, a DuPont executive and three pilots, two of which were at the controls. It was a tragedy that devastated the four-car organization, whose driver Jimmie Johnson won the race without knowing the darkness that unfolded in the hills behind the racetrack.
The one thing the 2.66-mile behemoth that is Talladega Superspeedway and the half-mile paperclip that is Martinsville Speedway have in common is the reversal of fortunes each potentially delivers. After raising the ire of fans and the garage (Matt Kenseth, in particular) alike two weeks ago in Charlotte, Brad Keselowski faced virtually no other option but to pull a Jake Taylor in Major League and win the whole f___in’ thing at Talladega. Keselowski did just that — which was no small task — in rather dramatic fashion.
Multi-car teams working together: it’s a modern NASCAR philosophy that began in the 1980s, failed miserably, and was redefined during the 1990s by Hendrick Motorsports. Built with Jeff Gordon, massaged by Terry Labonte and perfected by Jimmie Johnson, the organization has won 11 championships based on multiple cars sharing information, turning from rivals on the racetrack into individuals openly helping one another.
Conventional wisdom says Sunday’s race at Talladega Superspeedway will be a non-stop battle of lead changes and side-by-side racing thanks to the building pressure of Chase for the Sprint Cup eliminations. And at Talladega, those prognostic words are really code for lots of wrecked race cars.
With the WWE Attitude-Era finale to last weekend’s Bank of America 500 in Charlotte, you’d be hard pressed to remember how the first 25 laps were obscured by either a college football game or (of all things) a preseason NBA game. No chance of that happening this weekend, as the NASCAR Sprint Cup race runs on Sunday — and, of course, it’s Talladega.